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Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction!

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1 Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:48 pm

Hi everyone!

Antagonists are often times just as interesting as main characters, if not even more so. That's why I thought it might be a nice idea to have a thread like this, to discuss who everyone's favorite bad guys are. Then again, antagonists don't have to be villains, do they? Basically anything that stands between the protagonist(s) and their goals qualifies, which is why they can come in so many different flavors.

Let me start off this thread by introducing you to my personal Top 10 (mild spoilers ahead):

Spoiler:

#10: Vergil - Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening
"Foolishness, Dante, foolishness. Might controls everything, and without strength, you cannot protect anything. Let alone yourself."

Vergil unites a lot of elements and traits that I love to see in fictional characters: strength, pride and ambition for example. In additition to that, he's the perfect counterpart to Dante with his serious and no-nonsense demeanor. He's also just really cool. His flashy fighting style and abilities are always a joy to look at, especially in the Special Edition, where he's actually playable. But also as a boss encounter, he's probably still one of the best enemies I've ever fought in a video game. Actually, DMC3 has a lot of incredible boss fights.



#09: Wham - JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
"Truth belongs to mighty warriors. Friendship and respect to the braves."

Wham (or Wamuu, if you will) is probably my favorite villain of this particular anime series. He sees himself and his race as a suprior life form compared to humans and uses that to justify his hideous crimes. However, where he differs from his colleagues is in his honor, which is both a strength but also his biggest weakness. His pride as a warrior is more important to him than all the evil machinations of his boss, which makes him sympathetic in a way.



#03: Letho of Gulet - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
"No matter the game, there comes a point when all the players need to show their cards. I love that moment."

I just recently played through The Witcher 2, but one of the biggest reasons as to why I enjoyed it so much was Letho. He is this crazy good assassin that goes around killing off kings one by one while constantly staying elusive by always thinking several steps ahead of you. In addition to that, the rivalry between him and the protagonist Geralt is built up and presented extremely well. In a way, his character scheme is similar to my #02 choice, but a bit more straightforward, which is not necessarily a bad thing.



#07: Scorpius - Farscape
"I do not lose!"

Scorpious is a real bada**. He's the type of villain who calculates his plans thoroughly, always stays three steps ahead of everyone else and knows that he's among the best of the best in his expertise. Success is more important to him than anything else, which is why he's willing to go to any length if necessary. His look oozes evil, and I love that. But a big part of why I find Scorpius so impressive is actor Wayne Pygram. His performance adds a lot to the quality of the character. He basically steals every scene he's in.



#06: Blackbeard - One Piece
"A man’s dream never dies!"

There are so many great antagonists in One Piece: Enel, Akainu, Rob Lucci ... but Marshall D. "Blackbeard" Teach has got to be my favorite. He is just a huge a-hole. But he's the kind of a-hole that I can respect, because he has a dream in life and he respects the dreams of others. There is no good or evil according to his view of life. He doesn't even waste a second thinking about those things. To him, life is one giant rollercoaster. He lives each and every moment as though it was his last and he basically personifies "survival of the fittest".



#05: Kururugi Suzaku - Code Geass
"If my reputation goes down for doing what's right, I don't need it."

Suzaku is without a doubt one of the most complex characters on this list and he's actually not evil at all. However, in Code Geass, there is no good and evil, there are just different constantly clashing philosophies. Suzaku is a character who follows his deepest convictions, even though he fights for a side that doesn't share a lot of them. This often leaves him conflicted by what his orders are and what he knows is right. He's trying to change the system from within, in order to create a better world.



#04: The Boss - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
"Look at this scar. This is proof that I was once a mother. I gave up my body and my child for my country. There is nothing left inside me now. Nothing at all. No hatred, not even regret. And yet sometimes at night I can still feel the pain creeping up inside me. Slithering through my body, like a snake."

Honestly, I need to be really careful not to give away too much when explaining why I love this character so much. Let's just say that she's at the center of arguably one of the best stories in video games. However, there are other reasons as to why she's #04 on my list. The Boss is an absolute machine when it comes to close-quarters combat, or being a soldier in general, and she has a really interesting view on the world as well as a truly fascinating connection to Naked Snake. I feel she's one of only few examples of complex female characters in games.



#03: Griffith - Berserk
"A person with the potential to be my true friend must be able to find his reason for life without my help. And, he would have to put his heart and soul into protecting his dream. He would never hesitate to fight for his dream, even against me. For me, a true friend is one who stands equal on those terms."

Ah yes, this is where my holy trinity begins: the best antagonists from manga, games and TV, with this one being my favorite villain in all of manga, or at least of what I've read. Berserk is just incredible, it really is, and one of the main reasons for that is precisely the relationship between the protagonist Guts and his rival Griffith aka Femto. Just like Blackbeard, Griffith has a goal in life. To achieve it, he's willing to do everything. He's a charsmatic strategic genius who's growing an ever larger following and ... actually I don't want to go into too much detail, just in case people still want to get into the series by watching the relatively new movie trilogy, which starts off at a different point in time than the manga. But if you haven't seen/read Berserk yet, aboslutely do it!



#02: Revolver Ocelot - Metal Gear Solid
"We live in a sad age. Imperialism, totalitarianism, perestroika ... 20th century Russia had its share of problems, but at least they had an ideology. Russia today has nothing."

Ocelot is not just my favorite antagonist in games, but my favorite character, period. His complexity, personality and genius make him one of the most captivating fictional characters I have ever come across. What's so fascinating about him is that he seems to betray, outplay and double-cross everyone throughout the entirety of the series for his own sake. However, it is loyalty above all else that keeps him going. I love that in a character, and I love that juxtaposition. I'm really looking forward to his role in The Phantom Pain. Too bad they couldn't get Patric Zimmerman to voice him again, but I'm sure Troy Baker will do / has done a great job, like always.



#01: Londo Mollari - Babylon 5
"Isn't it strange, G'Kar? When we first met I had no power and all the choices I could ever want. And now I have all the power I could ever want and no choices at all. No choice at all."

I could nerdgasm over this character for days. I have never experienced a greater fictional character than Londo Mollari, he's simply incredibly well written and just the cream of the crop of a monumental cast of characters. At first glance, Londo seems to be the obligatory comic relief of the show, and in fact he is, but that's just one of many facets he has, which his arc continues to proof as the show goes on. Unlike most characters, his development is actually not a linear one, instead it resembles something like a parable instead. Londo is an example of what happens when patriotism and hate consume a person and drive entire worlds to the brink of destruction in doing so. He is a tragic hero, who realizes his grave errors just in time to the save the galaxy, but too late to save himself. He's also an example of why Babylon 5 is the pinnacle of sci-fi television.

What about you, though? Who are your favorite antagonists, and why?

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2 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:04 pm

Does Darth Vader as he appears in the original movie trilogy count? XP

But no, really, however simplistic his role may be after it's actually looked at objectively, the combination of scene direction, costume, his lines and the ways the actors that have played and voiced him delivered it all I've first seen as a pre-school kid had left a permanent impression on my mind.

As I re-watched the movies several times later, growing up some between each time, I found I've enjoyed him more and more with each time. Some questions popped up about the various how's why's somewhere along the road, but that went into the 'look up fanfics about it' category in my brain and didn't clutter my enjoyment of the character one whit.

To this day I periodically fell the need for some Darth Vader in my life. Each time that happens I load up some compilation of the scenes with him from youtube and get carried away by the music and the voice, free of all that other filler stuff in the movies that didn't involve Darth Vader. Very Happy

XXX

Continuing the theme, basically everybody from KOTOR II.
Spoiler:

Well, not every single antagonist, not even every single major one.

At least two dudes out of the three jedi that end up trying to end the main character near the end of the game seemed much more reasonable when you've met them one-on-one previously.

Did they get so much more bullheaded when they got together somehow (I don't think 'Vrook' quite covers it, especially given how you can choose to completely fail to react to the bait and talk almost non-confrontationally with him)? Or were they lying to the main character when you've got to talk to them to weasel out your direct vicinity, regroup and strike to kill when ready? I kind of completely failed to understand what happened there and would very much like some help on the topic.

But, regardless of that, I think the dialogue trees of the individual meetings you've had with all of them were rather interestingly done and there parts of them I've certainly liked.

XXX

Hanharr. He's a potential party member, but I don't think his canon appearance can be interpreted as non-antagonistic no matter how you slice it.

IMHO, he doesn't make an interesting party member in either gameplay or character. Not enough detail to him besides all consuming pain and hatred. But maybe that's the point? Hanharr lacks character exploration scenes to say anything definite, but he fits thematically right up with Sion like little else. Just not enough screen time for a party member. Especially when the player is forced to choose between him and Mira.

I can't honestly say I like him in any way, but if I ever were to write a KOTOR II quest or fanfic, Hanharr would be definitely someone I'd play around with to see what I could get out of the basic premise.

XXX

Atris was not exactly subtle, to put it mildly. The manner of how the confrontation with her came to be, however...

I must admit, I've somehow got an idea of how she should be as a character based on that beautiful picture the jewel case had of her fighting Nihilus in the time it took the game to install on my computer the first time. Seems incredibly silly now that I type it out, espically since I can't really remember the details now, but that actually happened.

(What I imagined of Nihilus from the same picture was kind of in line with how Sion turned out to be, curiously enough. I don't know about you, but I routinely let my mind run when first presented with a character in almost any work and try to imagine how they would behave next. On the rare occasion I remember the details of this first impression, comparing them to how the character are actually depicted in the story is almost always amusing.)

Anyway, even with additional brief scenes showing Atris getting progressively more and more obsessed with her... antipathy for the Exile well into extremely unhealthy territory the restoration mod digs out of the game files, it all still ends with her walking into her private sanctum full of red hissing holocrons, only to show up in a dazed, seemingly almost delirious state afterwards, ripe for Kreia to suggest things to her.

I dunno about you, but I think things could've been more interesting if Atris came to the decision to fight it out with the Exile with no one else's 'help'. Maybe there'd be more of her actual character instead of whatever double-whammy of mind control we saw instead?

(I don't think it's directly stated anywhere, but I believe that Kreia did something to Atris - even if not necessarily through some kind of Force manipulation - to provoke Exile into killing her.)

The way the first encounter with Atris goes down though makes me ignore all the parts I have doubts about though. It's not often a dialogue tree makes you feel exhuasted like a difficult boss fight does, after all. XP

XXX

Kreia herself. Perhaps one of my most favourite characters ever. Presents some very interesting food for thought.

Like all KOTOR II characters, I'd of course like to see more of her then what we've got, but there's about only one detail I think is really lacking. Namely, the main character having an option to realise that there is something wrong during the very last scene and taze the chronic liar who lies and get her out off the planet without killing her.

It may not actually work, but Kreia appeared to really, really want to be killed by Exile right here, right now. She tried to goad them into it by using her authority as their master, tried to enrage Exile enough provoke them to kill her, tried to present it as a mercy kill option, tried to threaten Exile with her supposed ability to inflict double suicide on them through the Force.

I somehow doubt Kreia simply sought to eradicate herself as a source of Force teachings that should not survive once she offed everything else she found offending. Or at least I think so.

And, as I've noted in the OST thread, Xenosaga's
Spoiler:

Voyager.

There are lots of antagonists in those games, quite a few of them interesting in their own ways, but Voyager is in about the same boat for me as Vader.

His actual motivation and plotline in the games could be summed up as 'I don't like you, Jan, so I want you to suffer some more before you die,' but his musical theme and english VA made me an instant fan on the spot.

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3 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:08 pm

my top 10 other then number 1 not really in proper order also didn't really see Londo as a antagonist but that's just me Razz
top 10:
10. Albert Wesker
9. The Joker
8. Arthas
7. Bowser
6. Kefka
5. Darth Vader
4. Liquid Snake
3. The Reapers
2. Jon Irenicus
1. Palpatine/Sidious

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4 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:07 pm

Yes, it's debatable whether Londo is an antagonist or not, but he definitely fills the role during some parts of the show, in my opinion. But great post, Yikari, and nice list, ZeroCool. The Joker would probably be in my Top 20 as well.

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5 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:36 pm

nope.



Last edited by DeutscheKind on Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:35 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : expunging.)

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6 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:44 pm

Favorite antagonist huh? Well I have a few.

Sephiroth.
Spoiler:
Sephirtoh was something devastating. His colossal strength and iconic sword are something you will remember. All the build up of how he is stronger that anybody else gave this sense of despair. Also his slow sink to madness was very interesting. I haven`t yet played Crisis Core which shows different parts of his past, but what I understand he wasn`t always evil. This makes his downfall even more fascinating.
This picture with Sephiroth in the center of firestorm was very defining moment.


Xehanort
Spoiler:
Xehanort is just something, something grand. With his super-human foresight and skills, he is a really scary opponent. I remember when I played Dream Drop Distance, and witnessed Master Xehanort return, I felt uneasy. I had seen what this man is capable of. Summoning mountains with his pare hands, capable of manipulating people around him, and etc
I think he first had good intentions and motives, but when time went on, got corrupted. I am curious to see more of his past, especially his time with Eraqus. Also his younger form is one the biggest trolls in video-game history.

I might add more. There are more antagonists in fiction, that I really liked.

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7 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:52 pm

While my list of enjoyable antagonists is miles long, a few really leap to the top of the list the moment I think on it.

Arche's Favorite Antagonists:
Emperor Palpatine
A truly amazing combination of intellect, cunning, manipulative prowess on a grand and personal scale, and on top of all of that he was one of if not the most powerful Force wielders of the setting to boot. I've also always had a personal interpretation of the character, which I've shared, that while definitely evil he wasn't THAT bad until he really started lunging too far into the Dark Side and it started feeding back in on him. And of course, I have to respect any mind with the raw level of discipline his had.

Arcturus Mengsk
I can, have, and will talk about this character extensively but I've always found the best way to explain him is he's a player character that the player isn't playing. He has no special powers or ancient magic or artifacts or whatever, but despite being an ordinary human in a setting like Starcraft this single individual has affected more of the setting than anyone else with the sole possible exception of Spoiler and Spoiler. He is cunning, brilliant, flawed, blinded by his own ambitions, driven, paranoid, and above all else human. This is a man who came back from nothing to rise to untold heights of power... three times.

Kefka
Do I really need to add anything here? I've always personally interpreted Kefka as a unique blend of crazy and insane, not really belonging to either category and finding him surprisingly sympathetic in addition to understandable in his motives and methods. Really, the scene on the Floating Continent says it all for me, though Dancing Mad (the song) really serves as the best analysis of Kefka I've ever seen, and it wasn't even done by me!


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8 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:03 pm

I have many really but I feel these 3 are solid ones I can justify without having to dig deep because of how great they are as characters.

Spoiler:

Apocalypse: The name itself doesn’t do him justice. The character is so much deeper than that. In a world where mutants and humans argue their beliefs, the character Apocalypse puts a whole new twist claiming to be above mutants, as they are to humans being an immortal mutant. Where other villains simply are dead set at conquering the world, Apocalypse goes beyond wanting to shape reality in his own vision; survival of the fittest if you will. He spent generations studying in the Axis of Time. He always enslaves mutants to become his Four Horsemen to help achieve his goal; just a monstrosity of a character able to stand out in a series with many protagonists.

“Evil? I am not monovalent, I simply am.” - Apocalypse

The Joker: I'm not even much of a Batman fan but what fascinates me about him is even though Arkham Asylum is meant for the insane, the Joker is not insane despite being the poster boy for the place. He is in fact “super sane” to the point he knows exactly what he’s doing why he does what he does and finds logic in doing so without any guilt or remorse, which makes him worse than insane. Also he usually gets the job done.


"If I weren't crazy, I'd be insane!" - The Joker

Emperor Palpatine: I’m not as educated on the Star Wars EU as lot of people here, but I do know one constant and that’s the reign of Palpatine was unlike any other. What interests me wasn’t the reign itself, it was more so how he single handily orchestrated the shift in the balance of power in the grand scheme of things. The way he betrayed his master Darth Plagueis and later utilized it as a way to manipulate Anakin; Impeccable.

"Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy, and we shall have peace." - Emperor Palpatine

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9 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:48 am

Palpatine is another great character, that's true. What I like about him is that he's portrayed to be this unmatched genius, yet he isn't completely without flaws, as Luke eventually proved. After being at the top of the game for decades, he got too confident for his own good and tried pulling off what he had already done with Anakin. Only this time, it felt like a rushed decision. He just assumed that since Luke is Anakin's son and since he's such a genius, he can turn him around as well, but he failed. Remember, when he eventually persuaded Anakin to follow the dark side, he had had years of getting to know him, how he thinks, what's important to him etc. This is why eventually he got under his skin and was able to turn him. With Luke, it seemed like a spontaneous decision, and it failed. Now, one can argue that in the original trilogy, Palpatine knew that he wouldn't have the same amount of time, maybe he felt that this big war was about to happen, which is why he reacted rashly. Still, the fact that he assumed he could turn Luke that easily eventually led to his demise. He's a genius who eventually got too confident, because nobody challenged him, and that's why he failed. I love that concept. He's probably in my Top 20 as well.

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10 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:14 am

The one who springs to mind is Revolver/Liquid Ocelot from the Metal Gear Solid series.

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11 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:56 pm

Not a proper list but some of my favorites are
Spoiler:

Gregory: a scheming rat who loves to mentality torture people.
Eggman and Bowser: A brain and a brawn. They should team up some time.
Clockwerk: Pure hated.
Grand Intellect: Hates us because we're dumb.
Dusknoir: A very human Pokemon.

BTW Arch. when you do your rumination on Disney villain, are you gonna watch ALL the movies?

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12 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:56 pm

All the ones I consider worth watching, yes.


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13 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:34 pm

I felt like the rival in Pokemon Fire red / Leaf green was implemented well game play wise. Nicely built up with different challenges throughout the game and a nice finale. For antagonists you can't beat a bit of Palpatine lol. He been an amazing villain since episode 4 and I feel they'd have to try hard to mess his character up lol. I'm still trying to get through the Darth Plagueis novel.

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14 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:02 am

My favorite antagonist is probably Irenicus from Baldur's Gate 2. I also really liked Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2 in that "man, I love to hate this guy but I wanna hear what he says next" way, so I have to agree with Deutsche there. I loved GLaDOS, and the Joker has always been one of my favorites regardless of what medium he might be in at the moment.

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15 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:43 am

While not my favorite John Silver from Treasure Planet has always interested my as an antagonist because he spends so much time helping and building a relationship with Jim. And he becomes a positive role model, surrogate father figure, for Jim until Jim discovers all the little flaws and decides that he needs to move on and be the better man. And he's one of the only antagonists that doesn't get what he wants and yet doesn't get punished for his actions either. And yet you still love him. (the same could be applied to the original John Silver though the Treasure Planet version stands out for me because you develop more of a relationship with him.)
From video games: GLaDOS, Count Bleck, Doopliss, Zant, Ganondorf (both TP and WW versions),

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16 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:15 pm

My rule is that it has to be a villain you like in spite of yourself. For me, Ramsay Snow doesn't fall into this category.

Off the top of my head: Handsome Jack from Borderlands, Zinyak from Saints Row 4, Lucien Fairfax from Fable 2, and Saren from Mass Effect.

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17 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Sun Oct 04, 2015 2:21 pm

ZGoten wrote:#05: Kururugi Suzaku - Code Geass
"If my reputation goes down for doing what's right, I don't need it."

Suzaku is without a doubt one of the most complex characters on this list and he's actually not evil at all. However, in Code Geass, there is no good and evil, there are just different constantly clashing philosophies. Suzaku is a character who follows his deepest convictions, even though he fights for a side that doesn't share a lot of them. This often leaves him conflicted by what his orders are and what he knows is right. He's trying to change the system from within, in order to create a better world.

Except for the fact that he constantly berates Lelouche every time he fights for things he does for his cause and then goes and does the EXACT SAME THING! Suzaku is a constant hypocrite. A well written hypocrite, but he's hardly the angel of justice he thinks he is. Maybe that's why he deserves that spot on your list, but I just get mad when I see Suzaku's face, so I had to complain about him.

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18 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:19 am

Reaver from Fable 2 and 3. Selfish and slippery.

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19 Re: Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction! on Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:39 pm

David Xanatos, from Gargoyles. First of all, I love listening to Jonathan Frakes' voice. So, that's the superficial stuff outta the way. Beyond that? Just love the meticulous, "even if I lose, I still win!" sort of planning he's known for.

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